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If you’re considering getting a surgical or nonsurgical procedure to alter any aspect of your appearance, research is an essential first step. You’ll want to know as much as you can about any risks, as well as recovery time and how you can expect it to affect your life. The next, and even more important, step is choosing the doctor who will perform your surgery – but you can’t do that without meeting them in person.

Consulting with several different cosmetic surgeons is crucial to help you find someone whose personality and aesthetic ideals align with yours. You’ll also want to get a feel for their practice, years of experience and professional standards. You should never go into these meetings unprepared.

In addition to asking all your questions about the best cosmetic options to reach your specific goals, you should plan to discuss the following.

Cost of the surgery:

This portion of the conversation should lead to an itemized list of all the costs of your procedure, including surgeon’s fees, anesthesia and facility fees, and any extras such as post-surgical garments and prescriptions. Since your health insurance plan likely won’t cover your procedure, you should also ask about financing options that allow you to pay for it over time.

Scheduling:

You should feel comfortable that you will be able to plan your procedure for a time that works for you – especially if you are planning to get surgery. Most surgeons will be willing to fit your timeframe, but you should never feel rushed into booking an appointment on the day of your consultation.

Who You’ll Meet

At your consultation, you should get a chance to meet your surgeon, as well as the other team members who will be caring for you. If they make you feel welcome and at home, that’s a good sign.

If possible, ask to tour the facility, including the surgical center. You’ll want to note cleanliness, as well as whether the equipment looks well-maintained. Also, ask about whether the surgical center has attained accreditation.

Plan to spend most of your consultation time in conversation with the surgeon who would perform your procedure. Their bedside manner should be friendly, compassionate and honest. Your goal should be to feel totally comfortable with the idea of getting your procedure of choice by the end of the meeting. If you feel uneasy for any reason during the consultation, don’t be afraid to end it early.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

During your consultation, it is vital to be 100 percent honest about why you are seeking to change your appearance and what you are hoping to achieve, as well as your complete medical history – including any drugs you have used, both prescribed and recreationally. Surgeons don’t ask these questions to make you feel guilty, but to ensure you know about any risks associated with the procedure you are considering. Your consultation is a private, confidential meeting, so you shouldn’t hold anything back.

Come Prepared With Questions

Patients who ask lots of good questions not only get the most out of their consultation, but they are often more satisfied with the decisions they end up making. While there’s no such thing as a bad question to ask at a cosmetic surgery consultation, you should come prepared with a list of things to talk about when you meet all your potential surgeons. These questions will help you decide whether the procedure you’re considering is right for you and can make you feel more confident that you are trusting your health and appearance to the most capable person.

To get you started with your list, here are five key questions to ask during every consultation.

1. Are you board-certified in cosmetic surgery?

By attaining board certification, a cosmetic surgeon demonstrates their commitment to excellence in medical ethics and patient safety. You may be astonished to learn that in the United States, any licensed physician can legally perform a cosmetic procedure — even one who has never had any training in cosmetic surgery! Choosing a cosmetic surgeon who has received board certification in one or more disciplines is one of the most effective ways to help ensure their qualifications.

2. How often do you perform this procedure?

Cosmetic surgery is a multifaceted discipline. Because human anatomy is so complex, not every cosmetic surgeon specializes in all available procedures. If you are interested in facial cosmetic surgery such as a rhinoplasty, look for a surgeon who performs that procedure as a large percentage of their practice. Ask to see before-and-after photos to get a sense of the outcomes for patients who have had some of the same concerns you have. Also, many surgeons offer 3D computer imaging that helps you envision your desired changes.

3. What type of anesthesia will I receive, and who will provide it?

If the procedure you are planning to get is surgical, you should know it will take place under anesthesia. Discussing anesthesia ahead of time will help you prepare physically and mentally for a safe, smooth procedure.

Under the care of a board-certified physician or professional anesthesiologist, both local and general anesthesia are very safe. No matter what type of anesthesia your potential cosmetic surgeon recommends, be sure to ask about your options, and make sure you will be getting your surgery in an accredited facility.

4. What is the recovery timeline for this procedure?

Before you schedule a cosmetic procedure, make sure you know all the details about the recovery process. This will help you decide whether now is the right time for you to proceed. Ask potential cosmetic surgeons how much time you should plan to take away from your normal activities, including work, exercise and caring for your home and family. Depending on the complexity of the procedure you are considering, you need to be prepared to set aside a few days or weeks to allow your healing to take place.

As part of this conversation, be sure to ask about specific activity restrictions. For example, most people will need to refrain from lifting heavy objects, including young children, for a few weeks after surgery. If you feel anxious about any aspect of the recovery process, be honest with your potential doctor. It might be in your best interest to explore alternative options or postpone surgery for a later time.

5. What is the total price tag for this procedure?

There are a variety of factors influencing the final cost of cosmetic procedures, and you need to understand them all. Reputable cosmetic surgeons will provide you with an itemized list of these costs up front to give you a realistic idea of how much you will owe. Remember, while price should be one factor in your decision whether to proceed, it should never be the only deciding factor. Cosmetic surgery is a competitive field, and you should be wary of any doctor or clinic marketing “special deals” or the “lowest prices” on their procedures. Offering cut-rate pricing could be an attempt by a less experienced or qualified provider to attract more patients, which makes bargain hunting a risky prospect.

This list is just a starting point. You will doubtless have many other things you’ll want to talk about with each cosmetic surgeon you visit to help you decide whose approach and experience best meet your needs.

Learn More About Cosmetic Surgery in Atlanta

Every cosmetic procedure starts with a great consultation. To learn more about getting your treatment of choice at the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery, contact us anytime by calling our office or filling out our convenient online form. We hope to see you soon!